How and When to Leave Blog Comments

When we get a new client, we often compare the internet to a foreign country. It truly is its own culture, and building a web site there (aka a storefront) is like setting up business in a foreign country. Even though most of what you do will be in English (for most of my readers – their native language) it is still foreign. We like to think of ourselves as tour guides who will help you not only enjoy your trip, but actually want to enjoy it as a second home!

In that spirit, today’s blog post is a little etiquette lesson in how to “act like a local.” I (a person with web in my DNA) find it amazing and informative that CC Chapman can get a ton of response from a Podcamp lecture just by asking people to go leave a comment on a blog. It appears that people are confused about how to do this, when to do this, why to do this, and so forth. Just like blogging a lot of people face that daunting question: What on earth will I say? So let me be your friendly tour guide.

Let’s make it stupid simple. I like stupid simple. I think hard on complex things most days and being able to “dumb it down” is something I really appreciate!

When to Comment
* Anytime you have an opinion to add to a conversation.
* When you want to promote your products and services (Just don’t be crass about it. Add something of value to the conversation.)
* When someone has featured you on their page or site. (If you know about it or your blog software can track inbound links, this is VERY easy). I consider it one of the top ten blogger “miss manners” recommendations. This one is probably the most neglected, yet in my world, the most important.
* Timing can be important, especially if you are tracking A-list bloggers. Our former client, Mary Schmidt took to blogging really well and paid attention to when well-known excellence author Tom Peters would typically post a new blog. Mary made sure she was available to be one of the first commenters. It helped her get noticed and become a key influencer in Mr. Peters popular blog discussions. And yes, it has helped her build her consulting business,

What to Comment
* See above for initial instructions.
* Add your opinion – especially if it is against the flow. Life is not black and white – virtually every conversation is well-served by a range of perspectives.
* Details baby, details. The more specific you can be, the better. Cite examples, give props to others, share your experience. It’s all good.

Why to Comment
* Because your point of view is just as relevant as anyone else’s.
* Because it is a great way to build your personal or company brand.
* Because it creates inbound links to your site, which helps the search engines rank your site higher.

How to Comment
* There is always a place for your name. You can put anything you want in there! It is what will be displayed on the blog. Some people consider this a personal banding opportunity, and you can say, “Roxanne Darling” or “Nerd Queen” or even enter Rox of beachwalks.tv. Like all things, you can be savvy or you can be obnoxious, and all points in between. As my little 2-year old friend Kaile is learning to do, “make good choices.”
* Email: you will be required to enter an email address. If the software is set up correctly, your email address will never be displayed. It is to sort you from the spammers. If you do not enter a URL (see next item) some blog software will show your email. As a precaution, always enter a URL! (if you don’t have a web site, you can always link to another web site – a cause you support or CNN or whatever. Best to have your own site of course.)
* URL: Universal Resource Locator, aka your web site address. Be sure to link to individual pages on your web site when that is more appropriate to the discussion at hand. Just navigate to that page on your site, copy the page address, and then enter that into the “URL” field as you are leaving your comment. UPDATE: Consider also linking to you social network pages, like Twitter or your LinkedIn Profile or even your Flickr page if that is your primary home on the web.